Model File Plan

A model file plan is a tool units can use to help them structure their content systems (e.g. Teamshares, MS Teams). Currently, the Records Management Office has created three adaptable plans.

How to Use

The Model File Plans are designed for units to adjust to their own needs. Not all records activities listed in the model plans will be relevant to the work of each office. There will also be additional activities unique to offices which will need to be incorporated into the plan. For further guidance, please see the Records Retention and Disposition Schedules (RDS), and contact the Records Management Office for File Plan samples, templates and help tailoring this document.

Top-level Folders

The top level of the file plan is based generally on function. In blue are functional blocks, further divided into individual functions below. These functions correspond to top-level folders that you will create in Teamshare or MS Teams. They will be common to many areas of the university, and reflect the functions outlined in the RDS. In addition to the Generic plan which can be used as a starting point for all users, we have created more specific templates by type of office or unit, e.g. Faculties and Schools and GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums). These specific templates will include functions unique to those units. 

Depending on the unique work of your office, the suggested folder structure may not be completely appropriate. It may be beneficial in specific cases to look closer at the secondary levels of the model file plan to determine your top-level folders. Using the example below, a library will likely use “Circulation and Access Services” as a top-level folder, and create folders on the second level based on the details within the linked records schedule.


The records schedules and model file plan only include two levels of specificity. Not explicitly included are the sub-folders that you will use in your file plan. They are meant for more granular activities; which folders are relevant will vary from office to office. These correspond either to a “secondary” within the linked retention schedules, or will be based on unique records that a unit creates. When a unit develops its own file plan based on the Generic model, they will add their own sub-folders as needed. 

If you are having trouble associating particular records with an activity, or believe that records you have are not covered in the schedules, contact the Records Management Office. 

Retention and Disposition

The retention and disposition column outlines how long to retain records and what to do with them once that time has passed. This is based on operational and legal obligations. 


The code for Policies and Procedures (EV+5Y, D) means that following an “event trigger” (EV)– this event is usually when the record is superseded, or when the activity that the record documents is completed – the unit will retain the record for a further 5 years (5Y).  After 5 years is complete, the record should be securely destroyed (D). For Staff Meetings (CY+5Y, D), at the conclusion of the current year (CY), the unit will retain the record for an additional 5 years and then destroy.

Note: There should be a staff member with designated recordkeeping responsibility for each top-level folder in the file plan. 

Folder Structure and Naming

See E-records Naming Conventions for details on file naming, and watch our Records Management Online Training videos for details on responsibility, file naming, managing email and classification.

In the File Plan you will see folders and sub-folders named the same way they are in the RDS. We suggest shortening these folder names because files become corrupted on Teamshares when their filepath has too many characters; naming folders strategically and creating folder structures with maximum three levels will help avoid this issue. 

Folder structures should be held to as few levels as possible, preferably two or three maximum. Naming conventions are used for further specificity. For the example above, the “Administration / Office Management” top-level folder is shortened to “ADMIN”, with a sub-folder “Staff Meetings”.  

Organizing and naming folders to align with UBC’s retention schedules will help make your files more manageable. Including the year in the folder name will simplify the disposition process.


Folder 1:      ADMIN
Folder 2:           StaffMeetings
Folder 3:                  2020
Folder 3:                  2021
Folder 3:                  2022

In addition to folders that reflect the file plan, we have suggested a dedicated folder for records that are to be transferred to University Archives.

Note: Emails and Collaborative Software (e.g. MS Teams)

Records of business activity may be created within email messages or collaborative software such as an MS Teams site. Make sure to organize your mailbox effectively to track records and ensure they are preserved by capturing relevant records and storing them in your Teamshare. Disposition schedules have been approved for the automated destruction of transitory email folders (Deleted Items, Junk E-mail, RSS Feeds) and Teams chat and video recordings. See IM4500: Email Applications and IM4700: Project, Learning and Collaborative Application Management schedules for details.

For tips on ways to effectively manage your email, see Email Best Practices, and view our MS Outlook Training for guides to AutoArchiving and organizing your mailbox.